Cora’s Story

Kristine and Cora

*** I typed this out on my Blackberry in an email to a friend a few days after Cora’s death. I can’t bring myself to read it again. I haven’t read it since. Can’t bring myself to edit my frantic storytelling. I hope that it’s not full of grammar mistakes. I hope it tells you her full story and how she lives through her life saving and life altering work.

Cora died in my arms suddenly and unexpectedly while breastfeeding December 6. She was only five days old and was born November 30 just a few days before her December 4 due date. One moment I looked down and saw her peaceful face growing sleepy from breastmilk. A matter of seconds later, and I looked down to a limp, pale baby, face covered in blood, with no movement. I screamed, jumped up and realized she wasn’t breathing.

My husband and I rushed her to the hospital, driving her ourselves.

Nothing could be done to save sweet Cora. She died in my arms, but was pronounced dead after the doctors heroically tried to revive her for over an hour. We’re still learning what happened to sweet baby Cora, but the preliminary report says that Cora was born with a congenital heart disease or condition. We await the final report to find out what condition. My pregnancy, labor and delivery were healthy. I had great prenatal care. Cora’s Apgars were both 9s, and my hospital was top notch. Cora displayed no signs of a bad heart. Cora transformed my life. She wasn’t a planned baby. I’ll never forget taking a pregnancy test on Easter morning 2009 and realizing my life was changed forever. My husband and I quit smoking, struggled to provide financially, and totally changed around our lives.

After Cora was born, I was transformed even more. I’ve never felt such joy, happiness, patience, and compassion. That love is the only thing getting me through. Cora has touched so many even though she met few. She teaches us all compassion, patience, and to cherish every day.

Through Cora, I’ve learned more about congenital heart diseases or CHDs and focus on sharing her story to raise awareness of CHDs, which is the number one birth defect.

I’ll continue to work to spread Cora’s story forever. Please help me spread the compassion Cora brought into my life and also raise awareness of CHD. For more information, follow me on Twitter @kristinebrite I’m working on a Web site to tell Cora’s story and will be posting that URL.